miércoles, 23 de diciembre de 2015

In the land of Pisco... The History of Pisco

Grapes first arrived to Peru in the 16th Century, brought from the  Canary Islands by Marquis Francisco de Caravantes. According to chroniclers from the era, the first vinification of South America took place in the Marcahuasi Estate, in Cuzco. They also mention Mateo Atiquipa as the first American enologist. However, it was in the valleys of Ica where the crops reached their maximum expansion, favored by the area’s weather conditions that also permitted the strong development of the wine industry.

In the mid-16th Century (1574), the Spaniards began to use the name “Pisco” to refer to a river, a town and a port. This was one of the main regional trade routes where guano and Spain bound silver were shipped.

Vine crops were so successful in Peru that wine exports from the Peruvian Viceroyalty to Spain became common, and Spanish producers requested Philip II to ban such trade in order to avoid the threat of competition. The ban was enforced in 1914, forcing coastal monk landowners to intensify the production of the Peruvian grape eau-de-vie, which quickly became a popular drink among the region's travelers thanks to its unique characteristics.
The earliest historical reference to the preparation of grape eau-de-vie dates back to the early 17th Century. Lorenzo Huertas, renown Peruvian historian, says: “We have found what might be the oldest reference to the preparation of (grape) eau-de-vie not only in Peru, but in America: a document from 1613 mentioning the manufacturing of this liquor in Ica.”  The document mentioned by Huertas is the will of Pedro Manuel the Greek, resident of Ica, whose last will stated that, among his properties, he had a Creole slave and “thirty burnay jars filled with eau-de-vie, and a barrel filled with eau-de-vie, that contained thirty little pitchers of such liquor, plus a large lidded copper cauldron used to extract eau-de-vie, and two pultayas, one with a spout and the other smaller and in better conditions.” This is the oldest information found in Peru about eau-de-vie. However, warns Huertas, although the will is dated 1613, eau-de-vie production instruments were used in earlier years. (Research by Dr. Lorenzo Huertas Vallejos, Producción de Vinos y sus derivados en Ica, Siglos XVI y XVII [Production of wine and its byproducts in Ica, 16th and 17th Centuries], Lima, 1988.)

The "Diario del Perú" (“Peruvian Journal”) of Hugh S. Salvin is also worth mentioning. It refers to Pisco as a city “… built about a mile away from the beach, and laid out like all Peruvian cities: a large main square in the center and converging straight streets (…). This district is known by the manufacturing of a strong liquor named liked the city and distilled from grape in the fields toward the highlands, five or six leagues away.”
Similarly, the “Testimonio del Perú” study (“Peruvian Testimony”, 1838-1842) by Johann Takob Von Tschudi, reads: “… the small city of Pisco, half a league away there is a safe bay that offers good anchorage. Due to the exports of its eau-de-vie that has become quite significant… Grapes have excellent quality, and are juicy and very sweet. The eau-de-vie is distilled from most part of them and, unsurprisingly, it tastes delicious. All of Peru and a large part of Chile purchase this beverage to the Ica valley. The common eau-de-vie is called Pisco eau-de-vie because it is shipped from this port.” (Crónicas y Relaciones que se refieren al origen y virtudes del Pisco. Bebida Tradicional y Patrimonio del Perú. [Chronicles and relationships referring to the origin and virtues of Pisco. Peruvian traditional beverage and heritage] Banco Latino, 1990, First Edition, Lima, pag. 35).

 Pisco, the Peruvian grape eau-de-vie, rapidly gained prestige and its export volumes grew significantly, as confirmed by the maritime trade news of the 17th and 18th Centuries and the many testimonies and stories of travelers in the 19th Century, which explain how the favorable conditions of the Ica and Moquegua valleys and the techniques developed by Peruvian craftsmen achieved a top-quality product that is now a symbol of tradition and pride.

As mentioned above, the exports of Peruvian grape eau-de-vie were made by sea to different destinations of the Colony through the port of Pisco. However, one further aspect is that the Peruvian eau-de-vie was stored in the famous earthen jars manufactured since ancient times in the region and which, coincidentally enough, were called “Piskos”. These two fundamental elements explain how the name was permanently branded to the product.

The Peruvian origin of the Pisco appellation has been broadly recognized around the world. For example, the last edition of the Diccionario de la Lengua Española (Dictionary of the Spanish Language) defines pisco as "eau-de-vie originally manufactured in Pisco, a region in Peru.” Likewise, the Encyclopaedia Britannica defines the word pisco as "city, Ica, in the southwest of Peru... known by its brandy made of muscatel grapes."

pisco bilingual magazine

jueves, 10 de diciembre de 2015

In the land of Pisco... Culture of Pisco: Noches de Cata

By Katrina Heimark
While pisco is not relatively young by any means, it certainly lacks an established culture, such as that celebrated by wine enthusiasts around the world. And, according to Livio Pastorino, editor of the monthly e-magazine, El Pisco es del Perú, not only does a culture of pisco need to be celebrated throughout Peru and the world, but also pisco lacks a transparent organization of authority on its quality, standards and production. 

Precisely because of this, Livio has established an organization called Asociación de Catadores Independientes de Pisco (ACIP), in which four graduates from the Insituto del Vino y del Pisco (IDVIP) meet every fifteen days to perform what they call blind taste testing of Pisco. They then publish the results of the testing on their blog, Noches de Cata. Each time ACIP meets, they taste 8 different brands of the same variety of pisco. The organization formed a little over a year ago, and they have sampled over 200 varieties of pisco.

They do so in a very strict, precise, and formal manner, but it wasn’t always that way. In April of 2009, ACIP began the blind tastings. Livio states that he noticed a higher level of efficiency, as well as more honest and transparent rating of the different piscos. “Things changed when we began the blind tastings,” he states, smiling. “We began to use the standards set up by the OIV (International Organization of wine and vine), which we religiously see as the official way of evaluating wines and piscos.”

“The truth is, in many nationalized Peruvian congresses on pisco, these standards are not even incorporated into the evaluation of pisco,” Livio explains. He is proud of his organization, because it is comprised of pisco lovers without any sort of ties to bodegas, production or any type of pisco company. “We are more transparent, which means we can evaluate pisco in a more honest and fair way. Over 60 percent of the evaluators of pisco in the congresses and competitions are producers or work with pisco in the bodegas. Most are self-taught, which is different from our group. We were educated in an institute.” And, Peru doesn’t not have a group that regularly dedicates itself to the evaluation of pisco, “because it is time consuming,” states Livio.

ACIP evaluates piscos on a scale of 1 to 100. “When we first began the tasting, we were really strict,” says Livio. “But now we’ve become more accepting of varieties, but we certainly haven’t lost our ability to criticize,” he laughs. A good pisco must achieve a rating between 88 and 90 points, combined from ratings from the four regular tasting participants of ACIP. However, an excellent pisco has to reach between 94 and 100 points, a tough grading scale.

Livio explains that ACIP proceeds very carefully through all of the tastings. They only focus on one variety, and although they have little over 4 months to complete a year of blind tasting, they still haven’t finished the evaluations of all the different types of piscos. ACIP only evaluates pisco that one can buy in the major stores in Lima, but they do once and a while taste a pisco that a producer has directly sent to them. Livo explains that these tastings are listed in the blog as “bonuses,” as most people won’t have a direct or easy access to the alcohol.

 Each pisco is evaluated for clarity, aroma, the first impression in the mouth, the persistence afterwards of the flavors, and the correspondence between the smell and the flavor. Livio states that the best way to evaluate a pisco is to drink it close to where it was produced, as that gives you the sense of aromas, climate and influences on the grapes while they are growing. “Each pisco picks up the flavors of the region it is produced in, and it is a completely different experience to taste a pisco in Lima than in Ica, for example,” he states.

When asked about his favorite variety of pisco, Livio states “I am a loyal fan of pure pisco. But out of all the varieties, I would have to choose one of the aromatic types as my favorite. I fell in love with the aromatic varieties while studying pisco in IDVIP. It is incredible when a pisco can remind you of jasmine, magnolias, pineapple, just by the smell, and when you have the pisco in your mouth, you have the sensation that you are eating the fruit. It is very difficult to produce a good aromatic pisco, and because of that I find that it is my favorite.”

With the organization ACIP, Livio explains that all the group members have learned that pisco is marvelous. While I would think that goes without saying, Livio explains that pisco is truly a unique and versatile distilled alcohol. It has a high number of varieties, and comes from a limited area of Peru, but yet, it still has a huge range of diversity and charm. And that, precisely, is why he wants to spread the culture of pisco, not just through Peru, but through the rest of the world.

“Someday,” Livio says, “We would like to offer a pisco evaluation service for the bodegas and the producers of pisco in Peru. And, of course, we would love to continue doing more and more tastings, as well as teach Peruvians and foreigners alike the intricacies of tasting and valuing pisco.” And, with these noble efforts, one can only imagine ACIP will make it possible.

To learn more about ACIP, www.nochesdecata.blogspot.com 

miércoles, 2 de diciembre de 2015

In the land of Pisco... Pisco Grapes

The grapes used to produce wine and Pisco were brought to Colonial America from Spain during the 17” century. To day, only eight varieties of grapes are officially recognized as a source for Pisco production, divided into the following two groups: 

The grapes used to produce wine and Pisco were brought to Colonial America from Spain during the 17” century. To day, only eight varieties of grapes are officially recognized as a source for Pisco production, divided into the following two groups:

Non-Aromatic Grapes
Quebranta, Mollar, Negra Criolla and Uvina:

Negra Criolla is known as the “Mission Grape” in California.
Pisco is most commonly made with the Quebranta grape, which is beleived to be a mutation of the Negra Criolla grape, resulting from its adaptation to the specific weather and soil conditions of the Peruvian valleys. This grape produces a Pisco characterized by an elegant aroma of dry fields, bananas, tropical fruits, chocolate and black raisins.

Aromatic Grapes
Italia, Moscatel, Torontel and Albilla.

These are mainly muscatel grapes.

Pisco Varieties
There are three different types of Pisco:

1.-Pisco Puro (Pure Pisco): Pisco produced from only one of the eight recognized varieties (single-variety Pisco).

2.-Pisco Acholado (Blended Pisco):
Pisco produced by blending at least two recognized varieties of grapes.

3.-Pisco Mosto Verde (Green Must Pisco): 
Pisco that is produced when the fermentation process is interrupted in order to distill the must, which still has traces of sweetness. (This must is “green”. If the fermentation process had been allowed to conclude, the distilled product would have been made of “mature” must.) This process instills the body, aroma and flavor of this special kind of Pisco with more complexity. Unlike Pure Pisco and Blended Pisco, Green Must Pisco requires more than twice as many kilograms of grapes to produce one liter of Pisco.

Translated by Katrina Heimark

miércoles, 25 de noviembre de 2015

In the land of pisco... Pisco Gatherings

Tuesday, May 29th, 10:30 am in some café in Miraflores: 

“Hello, Alvarito, how are you? Let’s see that surprise that you are bringing us!” 

“Hello Livio, Walter. Would you like a cup of coffee?” 

“Of Course!”

“Waiter, please bring us three cafes cortados”

This reminded me of another way to drink coffee, which was called “Correct Coffee”. While it is true that the original recipe is with grappa, if you add Pisco it could be tha you like it even more. “Correct Coffee, Peruvian style” or Piscafe. Here is the recipe. 
1 espresso
1 tsp of sugar
1 T of Pisco, your preferred variety
Milk foam from a café cortado, used at the end.

Make the espresso per the manufacturer’s instructions on your espresso maker. Put one teaspoon of sugar in the bottom of the glass. Add the hot espresso. Finish off with 1 tablespoon of your preferred variety of Pisco. Add a little milk foam (as is done with a café cortado) and serve immediately.

Ok, let’s continue and talk about the material.
Here is the installment: Tintin by Herge drank Peruvian Pisco.

In May 2007, the centennial of the birth of Herge (George Remi: 1907 (Brussels)-1983 (Lovaina, Belguim), creator of Tintin, was celebrated. The Tintin comics appeared starting in 1929, and as you will see, Tintin and Captain Haddock also enjoyed our national beverage.

In this clipping from a Tintin comic, we can see Captain Haddock drinking Peruvian Pisco. The image can be found in the book “The Temple of the Sun” (1949).

Translation: In the second box, the character with a cigar in his mouth called Cuthbert says “Why don’t we forget all about the incident. Will you allow me to offer you a glass of Pisco? It is our national drink…”

Later the Captain, in the fourth box, very happily says to Tintin, “Our lucky day! I didn’t think we would see old Cuthbert again! It is also the happiest day of my life! Hooray for Pisco! Everything is great! Everything will turn out fine!”

Cheers to your health, Tin Tin

Translated by Katrina Heimark

pisco bilingual magazine

martes, 3 de noviembre de 2015

In the land of pisco... Pisco Gatherings History and Praise of the Lima Bar

Bars are usually intimate and essential places for their faithful. A  bar is a place where one can go to celebrate or suffer as God desires. A good bar is quintessential for human relationships. The exaltation of friendship. Or, why not, profound loneliness. That is its paradox. 

Those from Lima have always been good conversationalists, and the bars have always been ideal places for their loquaciousness, to loosen the reins of their hyperbolic lips, of their unstoppable need to talk. 

Originally, Lima didn’t use the anglicized “bar” but called them “cafés.” But they were cafes presided over by enormous bottles, great jugs of Pisco and sandwiches. As one knows, being euphemistic is also very Lima. 

The tradition of bars began in Lima in the 16th Century, in what we know today as the Five Corners, which was the stage for a tavern called La Sirena, refuge of the mule drivers and travelers at the entrance to the city. 

The frescos which adorned the walls were famous. They represented a group of sirens with attitudes and performing obscene acts, under the pretext of serving as teaching devices and warnings for the dangers that resulted from these practices. 

Years later, next to this bar a beautiful woman called “The snake” established herself, and like the sirens of mythology, she dedicated herself to misleading passersby with her songs and her loving abilities. Later others came, and the area became better known for its ill-gotten fame. 
At the beginning of the 18th Century, in the middle of the Plaza Mayor of Lima, on the same corner as the entrance to Botoneros and with a door on Bodogones Street the House of Ham was built, an establishment that marked an era. It was the compulsory place for gatherings and conspiracies. It existed until the beginning of the Republic. Across from this same street the Café de Bodogones was founded, during the same period of time in which various grocery stores along Huevo Street became fashionable. These stores sold various products for daily use and at night they were frequented by the incipient bohemians of Lima, who had fun, conversed, and drank Pisco. Tradition has it that Micaela Villegas “la Perricholi” frequented one of these locales. 

At the beginning of the 19th Century the San Agustin and Inquisicion Cafes emerged on the streets of the same name. 

At the end of the 19th Century and in the Plaza Mayor on the corner of Palacio and Correo, where today sits Plaza Peru, Bar Canessa began and lasted more than fifty years. It was a specialist in butifarras and macerated Piscos with a variety of products. There were macerated Piscos from dried fruits, almonds, herbs, and very aromatic ones from oranges. In those days the old “Fonda Francesca” would become the Hotel Maury, whose bar is believed to have invented the Pisco Sour. Today, the tradition is maintained and it is an ideal place to drink a great Pisco Sour. 
Another version argues that the famous cocktail was invented in the Morris Bar which came into existence later on Boza Street in the Jiron de la Union, and which reached its greatest splendor in the 1920s.

As time went on, Lima was transformed, modernized but still maintains its mischevious and garrulous personality, so places that are apt for groups, clubs and circles will still emerge.

On Espaderos street Enrique Magan’s cigar store was established. In it, as well as fine selected tobaccos, cleaning clothes and cigarettes, they dispensed good Pisco and it was in the afternoons, an obligatory stop for a chat about bullfighting.

A loyal client of this establishment was don Nicolas de Pierola. Precisely in this cigar store was where he was baptized the “caliph” after comparing his extreme valor and audacity with that of the matador Rafael Molina “small lizard,” also known as the “Cordoba Caliph.”

Pierola, who was a great aficionado of Pisco, also frequented a locale called Olives and Firewater, located on the corner of Olaya and Camana streets in Chorillos, very close to his summer home. It was there that he would meet with his supporters so as not to bring politics home.
Pedro Benvenutto Murrieta in his great play “Quince Plazuelas, una Alameda y un Callejón” talks about the Café Maximiliano which existed in the now non-existant Plazuela de los Desamparados. The Maximiliano was, as Benvenutto says, the axis of the nightlife of Lima. “It is frequented in the night hours by non-sancta people…they would never close their doors as they had a license to open in the wee hours, and all of the picturesque world of the Lima underworld would meet inside, the rogues and womanizers of the city, the bad women, their lovers, and all those night people…”

In those first years of the 20th Century, a locale on Contradiccon de Abajo del Puento Street also came to fame. It was on the second story and overlooked the river. The owner was an impressive woman of Italian origin. Her figure reminded one of those illustrations of Liberty seated with laurels, with a Phrygian cap, and the Peruvian flag. The ingenious men of Lima baptized her as “Standing Liberty” and, by extension, her bar was “The Liberty.”

The name honored the license and liberties that the patrons would imbibe inside. It was the “Standing Liberty” who during a night full of Pisco and debauchery baptized the stubborn gang of locals—led by Alejandro Ayzara ‘Karmanduca’--the “fence.” She compared them to the overflowing river that would drag an uncontrolled fence that would get into everything.

Those were the days in which the Cordano bar appeared, on the corner of Pescaderia and Rastro de San Francisco streets—right across from the Government Palace. With their marble tables, their shiny coffee maker, their cheeses, jams, Piscos and beer, the Cordano is still around and has recently celebrated 100 years.

Later the Quierolo bars would emerge—the one in Magdalena and the one on the corners of Quilca and Camana—offering their own Piscos and macerated Piscos.

It was during those years that the Zela Bar in the San Martin Plaza would come to fame—a favorite place for poets and journalists, whose specialty was the Chilcano.

In 1924, the Leguia administration along with the private sector put together a series of initiatives in order to equip Lima with a modern infrastructure and represent the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Ayacucho with dignity. It was then that wide avenues appeared, the decorations became enriched with surprising works and it was decided that a hotel was to be built which would put Lima at the heights of the great capitals of the world. It was thus that the Gran Hotel Bolivar was built in the renovated San Martin Plaza.

The Bolivar transformed Lima’s social life. Soon it was the epicenter of all social activity. Saturdays were crowded with dances and dinners, and Wednesdays were packed for the “Te Danzant” enlivened by The Piramos orchestra, who came all the way from the United States to do so. “Mundial” magazine has photographic evidence of those unforgettable nights in Lima that were more than anything a party.

During the 50s the hotel reached its peak. The Grill, the Cocktail Lounge and the English Bar were witnesses to a legendary bohemian group. The Lima intellectuals, movie stars of world fame, Presidents and State leaders were obligatory guests or diners. Those were the glory days and the reign of the fastest flowing Pisco Sour in generous cups called “cathedrals,” before which the faithful genuflected.

In 1925, a year after the Bolivar was built, the construction of the Country Club Hotel began in San Isidro. This building was also inaugurated by President Leguia, two years later.

Ever since its inauguration, the Country Club was the meeting point for the most select clientele, and lodged in its suites Princes, Presidents and great figures of art and world politics.

It has always offered a magnificent Pisco Sour that even today, eighty years later, can be drunk in the English Bar.

The years have passed and to this repertoire we add “La Casa del Pisco” also in San Isidro, which offers Piscos from Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna. It is a center for Pisco culture, above all on Thursday nights when it functions as an old-fashioned peña criolla.

Today you can still find a well-stocked Pisco bar in the restaurant “Las Brujas de Cachiche” in Miraflores, as well as the unbeatable collection of macerated Piscos in “El Senorio de Sulco” on the Miraflores shorefront.

In Barranco, the legendary locale Juanito still exists, across from the municipal park.

These are bars that preserve the tradition of the old Lima bar, full of Pisco and butifaras, of cold food, bars that smell of wood and tradition. Bars in which one feels the pulse of Lima, this old and poetic city with which it is unavoidable to fall in love.

From the book “Pisco: Tribute to the Senses” by Luciano Revoredo R.

Translated by Katrina Heimark


miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2015

In the land of pisco... Guest producer

In this interview of our guest producer for the month of July, we  have the lovely presence of Mr. Jaime Marimon Pizarro, General Manager of the Bodega “El Sarcay de Azpitia.” This Bodega is located south of Lima at Km. 80 on the South Pan-American Highway in San Vicente de Azpitia, also known as “The Balcony of the Heavens.” It is located on the right side of the Mala River Valley. 

1. Tell us, Mr. Marimon, how did the Bodega “El Sarcay de Azpitia” get its start? 
In January 2005, I shared a rustic family lunch with eight friends who live in Azpitia. The men were on one side trying the Piscos and the women were gathered with the children and playing games. 

It was not a surprise to learn during the conversation of the Pisqueros that we each wanted to produce our own Pisco with our grape fields. Taking the common idea-strength to produce Pisco, the pleasant chat flowed until we unified the criteria and the efforts to set up a tranquil and modern bodega that would fulfill all the tchnical requirements for production, and would put our recognized Azpitia Pisco in the place and space that a Pisco of its quality deserves. 
Today the bodega has two 1000 liter stills, made with pride in Peru, and is preparing to begin 2008 with two more stills. Our fields add up to about 32 hectares of Pisco grapes of the following varieties: Mollar, Moscatel, Quebranta, Italia, Torontel, and Albilla. We do all this to always provide our Pisco to the most demanding market. 

2. What does the word “Sarcay” mean?
Sarcay, N.M. Peru: It describes the archaic structure of sticks supported by uprights and/or adobe, above which the Pisco grape clusters grow in Azpitia, a zone of the Mala River Valley. Generally they are installed above irrigation canals. They are also known as Pergolas in Italy, Galeras in Ica, Peru, and Parron in Spain. 

3. What grape varieties do you plant and what Piscos do you produce?  
Currently we have 6 varieties of Pisco grapes. Of the non-aromatics we have Quebranta and Mollar, and of the aromatics we have Italia, Moscatel, Torontel and Albilla. We produce pure Pisco from all of these varieties as well as Acholados and Green Must Piscos. 

I should tell you that the Green Must Pisco from Mollar grapes from this year’s harvest is going to give a lot to talk about… 

4. As a producer of Pisco “El Sarcay de Azpitia,” in your opinion, what characteristics should a good Pisco have?
Basically, and objectively, that which the technical norms dictate in view, nose, mouth, retro, etc. But principally among that which is substantive, the best characteristic of a good Pisco is the way it is remembered by the drinker.
That is the difference between a good Pisco, a regular Pisco, and a bad Pisco. We can’t forget that on the other side, in order to have a good product, 60% comes from the raw materials and another 40% from the bodega. That is why it is very important to do efficacious work in the fields with the plants, and very efficient work during its production. There have been cases in which grapes from the same field were transformed in Pisco, and one won the Gold medal in a national competition and the other didn’t even get an honorable mention.

5. Why is resting important for the quality of Pisco?
Because the production of Pisco is not finished when it is distilled—that is only when the process of distilling finishes. But the Pisco has not yet finalized its chemical process. It is like a green fruit, only then it begins another stage: resting, “aeration,” “oxidation,” decanting, the entering of light, etc. That is what helps it modify its structure and “accommodate” its characteristics until they are perfect. It is very difficult to (only those who know will be able to) know if it will be a good Pisco. Resting is to Pisco like the sun is to plants. Here we can apply the phrase: Gray hairs (resting) are not a symptom of aging, but rather of knowledge (value).

6. There are many brands of Piscos that are not very prevalent in Lima despite the fact that their consumption has increased. We would like to know why this is occurring.

Those who think that selling Pisco is easy are wrong. One thing is to drink it as a guest, and another is to buy it. As in all business, product rotation is important and a bottle of Pisco in a home does not rotate in the same way as soap or soda. This is one of the biggest obstacles for the small producers in order to venture away from their payments and towards the market, even if they have a good product. They prefer to sell bottle to bottle in their home before from cash register to cash register. The principal consumption is being capitalized upon by the organized bodegas that are highly efficient, with proven quality products that have denomination of origin, along with lasting financial models and their own fields.

The big warehouses where the most Pisco is sold and rotated (more sales points) do not facilitate the sale of a national product such as is our Pisco. The point of entry for the client is different than that of the producer.

7. In your experience, what limitations are there for the industry in exporting Peruvian Pisco?
Let’s see…if a bodega of Japanese Sake wins the Great Gold Medal of the Rising Sun and comes to Peru with their product, do you think they would be able to sell even one bottle, out of curiosity, to someone in the middle segment of the population? Excepting, of course, the Japanese colony…

Well, we do the same thing with our Pisco in Japan, Europe, Asia, North and South America.
So the only and first market in which one must access abroad is that of 4 and 5 star Peruvian and international restaurants, and the colonies of Peruvians abroad. In the first case, if we present it as for Pisco Sour, we have the limitation that presents itself with the lime, and therefore, the rotation will be very low. We still aren’t even talking about price. Second, in order to reach the Peruvian colonies or Peruvians abroad, the marketing would be so expensive so that it isn’t justifiable with the current prices. Imagine that there are importers from abroad that are importing boxes of 12 bottles of 750 ml at $36 the box…!!!!!! With this price, there is not any campaign that could begin to compete.

We must educate our people that good Pisco is to be drunk pure as an aperitif and digestif (before and after dinner). Also, in the same way Peruvians send their families money from abroad, we can incentivize Peruvians that they should send good Pisco from here.

Of course, making Pisco a brand at a global level, as was done with Vodka, is no cheaper than 8 million dollars. And it must involved guaranteed quality production and timely delivery in so far that no less than 150,000 bottles are produced in the first year and by the 5th year that there are no less than 1,800,000 bottles in order to be sustainable. It is a great challenge, isn’t it?

8. What plans do you have for the near future?
Now our bodega is totally installed and we are waiting for the end of the resting period in order to bottle the 2007 harvest. The capacity we have installed is ok. We expect to expand by 2010.

Today we are pushing our brand and selling well. We are going slowly but surely; don’t forget that we have been in the market since December 2006—and only six months ago we won the National Gold Medal with our Pure Pisco from Mollar grapes, which was also given the Gold Medal in Brussels. Oh…and I must remind you that the bodega is open every day of the week for those who want to visit and receive detailed explanations regarding the production of Pisco El Sarcay de Azpitia and try the Pisco varieties that we have. And also appreciate the unique landscape that the area offers!

9. What prizes have you been awarded?
They are been many in this short period of time, and that encourages us. Our first prize is the public’s awareness and this converting itself into sales. We do not want to be like those generals who were full of medals but never won a battle. Our battle is with our client in giving them quality products, opportunely in time and place. That is the best prize and that is what we work for.

10. Thank you for everything. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes, I would like to highlight that a big reason for the results obtained by our Piscos is owed to the professionals who work for us. I’d like to highlight Engineer Carmen Gonzales Q. Iquena, who works in the bodega, and Sergio Garcia, who works in sales. Finally, I’d like to repeat that the Bodega is open seven days a week, so we’ll see you soon!

Tranlated by Katrina Heimark

martes, 20 de octubre de 2015

In the land of pisco... Front Page

Editors of the Electronic Magazine: Pisco is From Peru

Pisco: A great business opportunity by Dr. Jose Herrera

It is with great pleasure that I address you first of all to congratulate you for the excellent idea of having an electronic  magazine exclusively dedicated to the best spirit in the world: Peruvian Pisco. Although the name may seem to be a tautology, it is necessary not only to say it, but to highlight it, due to the fact that other countries are attempting (without success, of course) to reclaim the nationality of one of the finest liquors made by man. 

Regarding what I said before, I must add that Pisco is not only an aphrodisiac for the soul, or a perfect excuse for celebration and a friendly get together, or the product of an activity that unites man with nature in exquisite harmony for all our senses, but also it is, above all, a magnificent business opportunity. 

Proof is in the great explosion of supply and demand in the national market that our national drink has felt over the past few years, which is translating into a more sophisticated culture of Pisco. As a consequence, the production of more and better Piscos increases. However, the business of Pisco is facing two big problems. The first, our national market is still very small and this is an obstacle for the industry itself to grow in accordance to the standards that this age of globalization demand. Second, as a consequence, the majority of Pisco continues to be produced in a traditional or pre-industrial way. 

Therefore, to our understanding, there are two mechanisms that can overcome the aforementioned obstacles. The first is to expand the supply of Pisco outside the borders of Peru via foreign trade, and the second, as a consequence of what I’ve said before, the modes of the production of Pisco must necessarily enter into an industrial era, as has occurred with Pisco’s better known ancestor: wine. 

Both changes would demand that the producers of Pisco find new business strategies, which could begin as joint ventures in order to increase the levels of production, and as a consequence, begin the search for new external markets. 
International fairs, preferential tariffs, as well as brokers or the construction of branches abroad are mechanisms that would help enormously achieve these goals. 

Dr. José Herrera
Lawyer, specializing in topics of Foreign Trade and Immigration to the United States

Translated by Katrina Heimark 

Pisco bilingual magazine

martes, 13 de octubre de 2015

In the land of pisco... Illustrious Pisqueros

Sérvulo Gutiérrez Alarcón

Sérvulo Gutiérrez Alarcón was born in February 1914, the fifth son in a numerous family. His infancy went by between school and collaborating in the restaurant that his father owned.
The death of his mother forced the teenager to move to Lima, where he was set up in the house of his brother Alberto, restorer, in the big house which is currently the seat of the Peña Hatuchay in Rimac.

In the Guiterrez shop they also restored haucos. This is the remote origin of the scandal that years later, provoked by the appearance in “Life” of a huaco, made by our artist, which was claimed to be a magnificent example of pre-Colombian pottery.

Following another brotherly tradition, initiated by his eldest brother, Tarugo, novice bullfighter and boxer, Servulo began to practice the sport of boxing.

Thanks to his boxing qualities, in 1934 he was chosen to form part of the Peruvian team that would attend the South American Championship in Cordoba, Argentina.

In Buenos Aires he married Zulema Palomieri, with whom he would have a daughter, Lucila.

However, his stay in the capital was kept short and in 1938 he arrived to Paris, where he struck up relationships with Peruvian artists and intellectuals. During this same period, in brawl of which there are many versions, he was cut by a knife that would forever mark his face.

As it did many others, the Second World War would distance him from Europe and in 1940 he returned to Peru with Claudine Fitte, a French-Argentine who would have a great influence on the artist’s still formative years. With her he lived between Lima and Buenos Aires, a city where he would attend classes given by painter Emilio Petoruti. These classes were the only formal artistic education that there is knowledge of him having.
In 1946 he separated from Claudine and established himself in Lima. He became one of the great entertainers of the active bohemian lifestyle in Lima in the 1950s.

Portraits, landscapes, Christs and Saint Roses were transformed by explosions of color worked with a spatula, a paint brush handle, or even his fingers and nails. His trail in local public areas was signaled by murals, tablecloths and napkins used as canvasses, pieces of paper, vouchers and menus.

The intensity of his life, which parallels his work, consumed him, and in July 1961 he died at the young age of 47. That same year, the Institute of Contemporary art organized an exhibit in his honor.

Today, almost four decades after his death, the passing of time has not erased him from the collective memory of a figure who one day defined himself as a Prague Prince.

Translated by Katrina Heimark

Pisco bilingual magazine

martes, 6 de octubre de 2015

In the land of pisco... The San Juan de Amancaes Festival, 24/06/1928

The San Juan de Amancaes Festival

“The Lost Leguia Album”
(Augusto B. Leguia President of Peru 1908-1912 / 1919-1930). 

June 24, 1928

“Amancaes” is a group of hills that surround in a semicircular fashion on the north side of the current Rimac district. At their feet, there is a terrace with an irregular slope and a higher altitude than the center of the city, which can be seen from here “Amancaes” is also the name of a yellow flower that in the past budded in the fields in June when the low fog of Lima crashed against the hills of Amancaes and dampened them, allowing for the appearance—although ephemeral—of some varieties of wild vegetation, and among them, the flower of Amancaes.

“Amancaes” was the name of a curacazgo that the Spanish found where the district of Rimac is today. The indigenous peoples of this place dedicated themselves to fishing the crayfish in the Rimac River. At the feet of the hills, one can find the famous San Juan Bautista de Amancaes church.

Tradition has it that on February 2, 1582, an indigenous girl named Rosario found in Amancaes a traveler that gave her a letter directed to the prior of the Dominican monks, charging him with building a temple in the place where Jesus’ image is carved. When the prior arrived in Amancaes, leading a pilgrimage, he found the image of Jesus Christ on a rock—an image that the child recognized as being  that of the face of the traveler who gave her the letter.

Even Saint Martin de Porras had visited Amancaes (he lived there with his mother in Rimac), in order to dedicate himself to prayer and plant fruit trees for the local poor. 

In the 18th Century it was the preferred site for some Viceroys such as Melchor de Navarra y Rocafull, Duke of the Palata, who organized events such as hunting deer and doves with dogs and falcons, and afternoon snacks with music in the fresh air.

However, the Amancaes Festival has taken place since the 16th Century, each June 24, the Day of Saint John the Baptist. In Europe it is a celebration associated with planting and harvest rituals. In Amancaes the image of Saint John the Baptist was passed around on a platform, visiting great feasts and dances, and was an event that brought together all social classes in Lima, as they visit on foot, in wagons and on horseback. When they returned to Lima, the groups would have in their hats, suits, on their horses and cars, the famous Flower of Amancaes. Precisely the song “Jose Antonio” by our dearly remembered Isabel “Chabuca” Granda, evokes the festival in modern times, as it relates how a jockey with a poncho and hat came from Barranco to participate in the festival. The song discusses the ”fine mist of June” and “the Amancaes” adorning the man’s hat.

In 1927, when the festival no longer existed, the seventh mayor of Rima, Con Juan Rios Alvarado decided to bring it back to life with competitions involving Peruvian Passo horses, presentations by dance groups and criollo and Andean musicians. At these events, organized by the District Municipality of Rimac, the guest of honor was Don Augusto B. Leguia, President of Peru, who at that time was a the peak of his political career. With the presence of the high authorities and with an established program, the festival had an official character about it.

1928 Propaganda
The February 1999 finding of the important photographic testimony the “Lost Album of Leguia” as it was called in a newspaper when the news was spread by the media, corresponds to the celebration of the Saint John the Baptist festival in Amancaes, organized by the Municipal District of Rimac, in June 1928. In it, one can see President Leguia and Mayor Rios presiding over a delegation of authorities and diplomats, as well as the population of Lima. All were heading by foot, horse, or Ford automobiles to the Pampa to participate in the festival organized by the Municipal District of Rimac, which also included Peruvian Passo horse competition, and the presentation of the artistic delegations that had come from provinces from the country’s interior.

Amancaes today is home to in the so called “human settlements” a huge population that has come from all over the country and who, having taken possession of a piece of land on the hills or in the fields, attempt to find happiness and progress.

The Saint John the Baptist Parish, an important historic monument, is today crying out for its upcoming restoration.

The Amancaes festival had extinguished a long time ago until it was reestablished by Mayor Gloria Jaramillo on June 24, 1999, in the atrium of the Saint John the Baptist parish. Those who were able to see it will always remember what was left in the middle of the 20th Century, as it was one of the most important traditions in Lima dn Peru, which takes place in Rimac.

The historic album is preserved in the Archives of the Municipal Palace of Rimac.
The Amancaes Festival Album

Pisco bilingual magazine

Translated By Katrina Heimark

martes, 22 de septiembre de 2015

In the land of pisco... From our Readers

 Thanks, NOEMI

Subject: Thanks
From: "Noemí"
Date: Monday, May 28, 2007, 6:33 pm
To: opinion@elpiscoesdelperu.com
Dear friends, the video that you sent me is very nice, as are the articles and récipes. Thanks for sharing them. Keep moving forward, as the Pisco bulletin is very interesting and cultural. Sincere greetings, and any suggestion you might have I’d be happy to receive. Your friend, Noemí

Subject: RE: What you missed in May, elpiscoesdelperu.com
From: "Francisco"
Date: Saturday, May 26, 2007, 3:03 pm
To: boletin@elpiscoesdelperu.com
Dear Sirs,
"Pisco is from Peru". Thank you very much for registering me as a user of your bulletin. I am another defender of our Pisco, and have been for many years. I am working on spreading the word about Peruvian Pisco in Germany and the US. Thank you for the news such as that which I receive via your bulletin—it is very useful for me. Soon you will have more news about my activities. Cordial Greetings,
Thanks, MANUEL

Subject: Subscription
Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 11:55 am
To: editores@elpiscoesdelperu.com
The Bulletin was truly very interesting and entertaining for me. I would like to congratulate you! I would like to be a subscriber. Name: Manuel. Thanks
Subject: Greetings!
From: "Alberto"
Date: Sunday, May 13, 2007, 10:55 am
To: opinion@elpiscoesdelperu.com
Congratulations to all of you who have created this website. It is very interesting to learn about many details that we didn’t know about Pisco. I have been living for a long time outside of my dear country (Peru), and what I would like is that you send me the complete and true history of our Peruvian Pisco (as there are many versions). I await your quick reply. Cordial greetings. Alberto P.S. It has to be and will be 100% Peruvian. Cheers.
Thanks, CARLOS
Subject: Online Question
Date: Saturday, May 19, 2007, 1:11 pm
To: editores@elpiscoesdelperu.com
Pisco is from Peru
Contact information
Name : Carlos
Subject : information
Message : Congratulations, this website is fabulous because it spreads the cultura of Peruvian Pisco, which is unique in the world.

Thanks, WALTER

From: "W@lter "
Date: Sunday, May 13, 2007, 10:58 pm

Friends, thank you very much for the articles. They are very interesting. I would like to thank you for considering me to be a member. I will support the development of many different topics related to our famous Pisco.
Translated by Katrina Heimark

Pisco bilingual magazine

jueves, 17 de septiembre de 2015

In the land of pisco... Surprise Guest: A Dane who is more Peruvian than many

 Don’t miss this interview in “Pisco Gatherings.” This month of June we have interviewed Mr.Carsten Korch, editor of www.livinginperu.com. Mr. Korch is Danish, has fallen in love with Peru and has created the website in English which is dedicated to bringing information on or country to the world. Very interesting!

1. Good morning, Mr. Carsten. Why Peru and not a different country?
Because my wife is Peruvian and so are my two sons. Also because Peru has the best food in the world, and the best liquor, which is Pisco.
Friends that visit Peru come back so they can take more limes and Pisco with them. It is a beautiful country that is worth visiting. You can do anything, hunt, walk the countryside, adventure tourism, ecological tourism, etc. Everything is possible in Peru, and I think it is possible to improve Peru’s situation. Also it is true that with lower income you can have a very good life in Peru. One can live very well!

2. So our readers understand, what does livinginperu mean?
The idea for the website came from the purpose of changing Peru’s image. Part of the Peruvian population and 99% of outsiders think that in Peru there are only poor and hungry indigenous people living in the mountains. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems in Peru, but also, we have to get to know the other side of the truth. There are beautiful beaches and landscapes, the jungle, many ecosystems and unique geography, rich fauna, interesting history, colonial architecture, etc. It is important to share and inform the world about the positive side too, as many think that there is nothing, which is not true.

So from this idea we talked with many embassies and we began to make livinginperu.com two years ago. We have 10,000 pages in English and in reality, there are not many people who have this. Currently, we have 90,000 monthly visitors, of which 45% live in Peru.

Today, Livinginperu.com is a source of information and knowledge about Peru, above all for those who are interested in Peru and not just visiting Machu Picchu, which is just the tip of the iceberg.

3. What is your profession?
I studied Marketing and Economics in Denmark. I’ve worked in the show business sector-particularly music and events, tourism and the media.

4. In your April 29th interview with El Comercio you mentioned that you are a passionate fan of the Pisco Sour. Have you tried pure Pisco? Do you especially like a particular variety?
I’ve tried pure Pisco and I love it. Before I go to bed I drink a shot of pure Pisco. I like the Biondi Pisco and the Mosto Verde (Green Must). Peruvian grapes are very tasty and there is a great variety. When I eat an Italia grape, it is like drinking Pisco without alcohol.

5. You say that Peru is a land of oppotunities, why?
Before it was the United States that said it was the “country of opportunities.” Now I think it is “Peru, the country of opportunities.” We must improve the information about the country, the infrastructure is improving, but we need to improve the educational system as without it we cannot get ahead.

6. Of all the places you hav visited in Peru, do you have a preferred spot or a place that calls your attention?
I don’t know why, but I love the jungle. The green world is incredible! But there are other places such as Mancora in Piura, Arequipa. I still haven’t visited Tarapoto, I hope to go there someday. However, I have traveled to Oxapampa, Villa Rica and the road there is one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen.

7. Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
My hope is that more people will believe in Peru and its products. It’s sad that many people want to leave the country when there are so many opportunities here. I hope we can change this. It is important to spread the word regarding what Peru has—if you know people abroad or you have friends that don’t speak Spanish, you can visit www.livinginperu.com and use this website as a way to present Peru to the world.

Thanks for everything, and good luck!

Translated by Katrina Heimark

martes, 8 de septiembre de 2015

In the land of pisco... Caraveli, high altitude Piscos

At 1,779 meters above sea level, the moscatel grapes enjoy a generous soil that allows them to open up in all senses of the Word. There are Piscos and wines that are more than 400 years old  that you will only find in this valley in Arequipa. The sun rises in Caraveli when Don Pedro Ramirez’s melancholy violin changes the mood and gives a festive mystical essence to this colonial tradition in the Chirisco Estate. In the stone winery, under the eunich eyes of the music, the group of eight men stands ready for the first notes with which to begin, with enviable choreography, the traditional stomping of the grapes in the Caraveli valley. Dona Rosa Montoya, patron of the stomping of the grapes and of the Chirisco Bodega, is required by the musical duo (Luis Montoya on guitar) to choose the captain of the stomping. Leoncio Huamani is chosen with three moderate slaps on his backside with grape vines. He has participated for more than twenty years in the folklore of the wine and Pisco and he learned to stomp, he confesses from his father when he was a boy. 

“Women are the devil/related to the scorpion/when the poor man comes/they stick out their tails and they go”
Leoncio is a living reminder of this colonial practice that today, because of the modern de-stemming machines and the presses, is practically extinct. But in Caraveli, this tradition is still living. 

The town surrounds the winery’s tank. The captain takes the Moscatel grape vines that he has attached to his belt in order to choose the cave. This charismatic whiskered man at the same time chooses the second captain, who in due time, will do the same to choose the Second Cave, which repeats until the famous and awaited fifth cave is chosen. This person, of prodigious movement, is who is in charge of the “stompers,” and the public assistant always have a glass of “cachina” or wine in their hands to satiate their thirst. 

The dance of the stomping of the grapes is started by the Captain with a rough voice and clear shouts. And “Ay!” to he who would dare to break the harmony of the steps. He is thrown to the edge of the tank and to the beat of the violin of Don Pedro Ramirez, is whipped with the damp grape vines. It is a harsh punishment that the assistants applaud, with their cheeks reddened from so much wine. This also happens for the Fifth Cave. 

The task begins at four in the morning with the harvest in the fields and is extended—depending on thirst—until the wee hours of the morning. In the afternoon, when the grape pulp fades into the tank, it is once again sprinkled with the must extracted from the grapes in order to obtain this unique flavor that is still present in the pulp, argues Marcos Montoya, son of Dona Rosa. This time, in order to give the hardworking group a break, rocks do the crushing work. 

The assistants also put together a party. They sing, dance and drink up the cachina that has been resting in the ancient earthenware pots of the Chirisco Bodega (the majority date back to the 1700s). To the innocent foreigners, like this author, they set a trap and make them participate in the game of the Fox. “Don’t drink the fox,” they say. They extract the delicate eardrums from a guinea pig and they put them in a glass of wine. “You have to drink everything, but don’t swallow the fox,” they warn. “If you do, you have to repeat it all over again.” 
In my first attempt, the “fox” stayed stuck on the bottom of the glass. The second, third and even the fourth attempt the blessed fox never moved. It was only then that I realized, when my sight lost all coherent sense of direction, that this was the game—that the fox would never become unstuck as it had a certain type of natural glue. The idea was that whoever falls victim to the game would fall, exhausted from so much wine. Lucky for me, a local woman warned me in time. 

This party takes place in the majority of bodegas in Carveli. 

Translated by Katrina Heimark

Pisco bilingual magazine